If you had not already marked down today as an important date on your calendar, prepare to do so now, as it marks the most auspicious day of the year and one that I have been looking forward to for quite some time.

Today marks the 50th edition of “It’s a Pun!” Yes, I agree, such an occasion deserves some champagne. Feel free to raise a glass to my precocious little comic that has taken the world by storm.

If you do an investigation of “It’s a Pun!” you will, however, find some discrepancy with my counting. In fact, this is technically only the 47th printing of “It’s a Pun!” This doesn’t take into account, however, two April Fool’s editions or my initial pun, entitled “Kerfuffle,” though it, too, was a pun. That brings the tally up to 50. Unless, of course, you count the fact that one April Fools issue included eight different puns, in which case the total would be 57. However, if you went solely by the number of times the words “It’s a Pun!” have appeared, this is only the 49th, and therefore we should cork the champagne bottle until next week.

Perhaps this celebration is entirely random. Why even celebrate a comic most people deride as either “a waste of space” or “unfunny”?

First, we celebrate because my critics are humorless clods lacking the talent to submit anything superior to my comic; we’re generally better off ignoring them.

Second, because, why not? We recognize everything else. We have awareness weeks for 100 different kinds of cancer and appreciation days for everything from hot dogs to kites to perhaps even sidewalks (truly one of life’s little blessings). We have history months for different races, genders and sexual orientations. April also serves as National Poetry Month, so break out that Ezra Pound collection!

None of them, however, are any less capricious than the idea of an “It’s a Pun!” Appreciation Week. Such periods are created to either raise awareness or create admiration, but are arbitrary both in their timing in execution.

What motivation could drive the powers that be to declare the second month of the year to be dedicated to the history of blacks? Do blacks really, really enjoy February? Do women really get a kick out of March? And as clever as “Gaypril” might be, there is no legitimacy to its timing.

By contrast, Martin Luther King Jr. Day serves as a great vehicle already for a national discussion on black advancement, as would Feb. 15 serve similarly for women. Oct. 12 would be a perfect, annual day for the National Day of Silence, in memory of Matthew Shepard, the man killed for being homosexual. Those would be legitimate.

If appreciation periods are weak due to their arbitrary timing, they are further dampened in strength by their inherent design: appreciation periods signify that something need only be recognized for a certain span of time, and then it can be forgotten for a year, thus marginalizing the topic.

History – whether of races, foods or puns – is always interesting. There’s no reason for us to be told when we have to be appreciative.

Brenneman is a member of the class of 2009.



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